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Keep yourself secure online during the festive season

By Ian Capp, IT Director

With Christmas fast approaching, many of us will be shopping online throughout the coming weeks and looking for discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

While the holiday season generates great excitement, it is also very important to take extra caution when completing online transactions in order to avoid being targeted by phishing and scams.

Here are some helpful tips towards ensuring a secure and trouble-free online retail experience:

1.       Only buy from trustworthy sites and brand names

Major retailers and vendors like Amazon have the most complex encryption and security systems in place to protect your personal information and payment details. When entering payment details always check for a padlock logo next to the site URL to ensure that the page is secure and private.

2.       Check online reviews

If you’re buying from a third party vendor or lesser known site, always check authenticity through online reviews before entering and sending any payment or personal details.

3.       Avoid purchases on shared computers and devices, and public WiFi networks

Try to make all transactions on a personal computer through secured connections. Sharing information on a public network increases the chances of data breaches and unwanted accessibility by others. Do not save credit card and bank details while using a shared network under any circumstances.

4.       Use complex and unique passwords

Use passwords that contain a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols when registering online accounts – and do not use the same password for each site. Change these passwords frequently as well to protect yourself from possible breaches of data on a site.

5.       Manually enter URLs rather than clicking email links or Google searches

If an offer looks too good to be true, then it often is! Safeguard yourself from potential phishing attacks by avoiding email links which might open malevolent sites or sites that mirror authentic outlets that are designed to steal information. Only open full URLs rather than shortened links when browsing social media as well.

6.       Track credit card activity

Set up text alerts for your credit and debit cards to check that there’s no unusual activity in the days, weeks and months following a transaction. Contact your bank or supplier immediately if any unwarranted payments are showing up.

The most trusted retailers will usually have security of payments at the very top of their agenda, but you should always remain vigilant regardless of who you are purchasing from. If your instincts tell you that somebody is trying to steal your details then this might well be the case.

The IT department at LBS aims to create the most innovative and secure online environment for the School community. If you have any questions please get in touch.